With the housing bank question still undecided, Tisbury voters will go to a third night for their annual town meeting.

After a four-hour second night Wednesday, voters adjourned at 11 p.m., midway through discussion about the controversial housing bank proposal.

Tisbury fire chief John Schilling makes the case for a full-time assistant chief. — Mark Alan Lovewell

“We can recess and we can resume tomorrow night fresh,” moderator Deborah Medders told voters.

The meeting resumes at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Edgartown and Oak Bluffs defeated the housing bank questions at their annual town meetings Tuesday night. West Tisbury approved the main question but has postponed a vote on a companion article to create a funding mechanism for the housing bank.

Chilmark and Aquinnah will vote on the question at their annual town meetings next month.

Tisbury reconvened Wednesday with 166 voters present, a lighter turnout than Tuesday when 347 voters packed the school gymnasium.

At the outset voters agreed to spend $400,000 to start over on a new school project signaling a clear shift in direction from a year ago.

The money will be used to hire an owner’s project manager and architect to begin new plans.

The selectmen and school committee showed a united front.

“Our goal is to make sure we don’t have a divided community,” school committee chairman Amy Houghton said.

“We would like to move forward using the base data that was obtained last year,” said selectman James Rogers.

Voters also agreed to fund a full-time assistant fire chief.

“We need this full-time position to enhance the safety of our volunteers [and] . . . to ensure seamless 911 coverage for you,” fire chief John Schilling told the meeting, drawing applause.

The new position comes with an annual salary of around $67,000.

The two housing bank questions came late in the meeting. Echoing other Island towns, debate was passionate on both sides.

Along with their counterparts in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs, Tisbury selectmen strongly oppose the housing bank.

Longtime selectman Tristan Israel, who will step down in two weeks, said the concept may be sound but the details have come up short.

“The concept of a housing bank I still think is a very wonderful idea to explore,” Mr. Israel said. “But this particular iteration . . . is not one I find tenable for the town of Tisbury.”

Selectman Rogers said he was disappointed with the process, which failed to involve selectmen and other town officials who manage finances and set budget policies.

“We found out about this after the fact,” he said.

But planning board member Dan Seidman said the details of the proposal are not set in stone, and he urged approval.

“I would look at this as a door. If you open the door you will have time,” he said. “There will be a year to two years in which people will have the time to evaluate . . . . ”

Robert Sawyer, an Island businessman and real estate developer who is backing the proposal, said the need is urgent.

“This is the most important crisis we have on the Vineyard,” he said. “We all know of kids at home with their parents because there’s no place to live.”

In West Tisbury voters also met for a second night. Turnout was light.

Voters passed a ban on pumping water from the Mill Brook to protect the fragile water resource.

Most other articles were approved, but in an unusual twist at the end, a final article was held over for a special town meeting late this month.

A companion article to the main housing bank question that was approved Tuesday night, it spells out a funding mechanism for the housing bank.

An April 30 special town meeting had previously been set for two high school matters, so the housing bank article will be taken up then.

The meeting adjourned at around 10:20 p.m.

In both towns, attempts to reverse a move by the county manager to tack a five per cent administrative fee onto a series of social services spending article saw mixed results and procedural tangles.

Holly Pretsky and Landry Harlan contributed reporting.